New Providence Pastor Accused of Sexually Abusing 3 Girls
A Mount Holly pastor has been arrested after being accused of sexually assaulting three children who attended his church. 61-year-old Jerry Friday, a pastor from New Providence Baptist Church, made his first court appearance by video on Thursday, December 6. He is accused of several sex acts involving three girls from his church.
According to the prosecution, the victims range in age from 13 to 17 and the most recent incident of sexual abuse occurred in September. The alleged incidents are said to have happened either at the church, the pastor’s home, or the homes of the victims.
In court on Thursday, the prosecution detailed the allegations against the pastor, which include masturbation in the presence of the children, displaying and showing them pornography, and at least one incident involving digital penetration.
Legal Recourse for Victims of Church Sexual Abuse
Attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com helps victims of sexual abuse find justice by filing civil lawsuits. We have asked him to add some thoughts on the legal options available to those who have been sexually abused by church leaders:
Our churches and religious communities are supposed to be safe places. But unfortunately, some church leaders use their positions of trust and authority as a way to commit heinous crimes of sexual abuse. These sexual predators must be brought to justice and their victims must get all of the answers and support they deserve.
The police and criminal justice system handles the prosecution of sexual predators but often fails to directly address the needs of victims. Many victims turn to the civil court system to find support for the damages they’ve suffered. In many cases of sexual abuse by religious figures, the religious organization was negligent in a way that enabled the abuse to occur. When this is the case, the victims likely have grounds for a lawsuit.
If you or someone you love has been sexually abused by a religious leader, you can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking to an experienced sexual abuse victims attorney.